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[277] had got down to Sewall's Point before they took the alarm.

While the engagement was going on between the two frigates and the Virginia, the enemy's steam-frigate Minnesota put out from Old Point to their assistance. She laid well over toward Newport News, but not entirely out of the range of our batteries on Sewall's Point, which opened on her, with what effect we are unable to say, but she replied to them without any damage whatever. The Minnesota got aground when within a mile or two of Newport News Point. There she stuck, unable to get off, while the confederate steamers Patrick Henry and Jamestown peppered her with their batteries, while the Virginia was attending to the shore-batteries at Newport News.

The frigate St. Lawrence then came up to the assistance of the Minnesota, and she also got aground, and a steam-frigate, supposed to be the Roanoke, put off from Old Point with the same intention, it is supposed, but seeing the sad havoc which the Virginia was playing with the Federal vessels, she put back to Old Point.

The Minnesota and St. Lawrence, we learn, are hard aground and in the power of the Virginia, at high tide, as the latter vessel was at Sewall's Point, after the engagement, where she remained on Saturday night, ready to commence on them on Sunday morning. She is between them and all assistance from Old Point.

The frigate Congress was set fire to on Saturday night, by a boat's crew from some of our vessels. She illumined the whole Roads and river, and about midnight her magazine exploded with a tremendous noise. Her conflagration afforded a rare sight to many thousands of spectators who lined the shores of our harbor to witness the spectacle of a ship on fire. Many articles of value, we learn, were removed from her by our gunboats before being fired.

Tugs and steamers were sent to the assistance of the Minnesota and St. Lawrence from Old Point, after they grounded, but their efforts to haul them off were unavailing.

The first gun fired in the engagement is said to have been fired by the confederate gunboat Beaufort at the frigate Congress. All of our steamers and gunboats are said to have been managed with the utmost skill and dexterity, tendering great assistance to the Virginia in this magnificent and successful engagement.

We are without means of getting at the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded, though it is believed to have been very great. Our total loss, in killed and wounded, as far as we can learn, is nine killed and twelve wounded, most of them slightly.

Twenty-three prisoners were brought up to this city on Saturday night. These were all taken off the frigate Congress by the gunboat Beaufort, while our other gunboats took off others. One of these prisoners died while on his way to the city. He and another one wounded were shot by their own forces while being saved from the sinking frigate Congress. The wounded prisoners were carried to the hospital.

The Virginia had two men killed and some five or six wounded. A shot entered the port-hole and struck the gun in the muzzle, knocking off a piece nine inches long. This disabled the gun, which was immediately replaced by another of the same calibre.

Capt. Buchanan and Lieut. Minor, of the Virginia, are said to be wounded, the former slightly, the latter severely.

On board the Patrick Henry a shot entered one of her ports, we understand, and passed through one of her boilers, disabling it. She was compelled to haul off temporarily for repairs. There were four men killed and three wounded on board of her. Other damage not material

On board the gunboat Raleigh, Midshipman Hutter was killed, we understand, though we did not learn of any other casualties.

The James River steamers arrived at the scene of action, it is said, about one hour after the engagement commenced. They easily passed the Newport News battery, and, after joining in the fight, rendered very efficient aid.

By this daring exploit we have raised the James River blockade, without foreign assistance, and are likely, with the assistance of the Virginia, to keep open the communication.

Several small prizes were said to have been taken by our gunboats from the Yankees, one of which, the schooner Reindeer, was brought up to the Navy-Yard on Saturday night. Two others were said to have been carried over to Pig Point on Saturday.

Another report we hear says that but two persons were killed on board the Virginia.

Andrew J. Dalton, a printer, who left our office a few days since to join the Virginia, and who was at the bombardment of Sumter, and participated in several other engagements during the war, we learn, was one of the wounded on board that vessel on Saturday.

The engagement was renewed again on Sunday morning, about half-past 8 o'clock, by the Jamestown and several of our gunboats firing into the Minnesota and St. Lawrence. At high-water we expect the Virginia will pay her respects to these vessels.

Since the above was written we have been enabled to gather some additional particulars.

Some detention occurred on board the Virginia on Sunday morning, we learn, or she would have commenced the engagement much earlier than half-past 8 o'clock, at which time she, together with the Patrick Henry, Jamestown, and our other gunboats, opened fire on the Minnesota, which still lies hard and fast aground. The tide being at the ebb, the Virginia did not take the channel where the Minnesota lay, probably for fear of grounding, but getting within a good range of her, she opened fire with terrible effect, completely riddling her, and rendering constant exertion at the pump necessary to prevent her from filling.

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